Capella Lodge: The Experience

Located in Lord Howe Island, Australia

Blanketed in lush rainforest and surrounded by marine sanctuaries, Lord Howe Island is a nature-lover’s playground—one that is small enough that it is easy to access whatever you choose to do. Hop on one of the lodge’s mountain bikes and go exploring, and hit the trails with a guide or on your own. From diving or mountain climbing to stretching out for a nap on an unbelievable beach—and everything in between—there’s no risk of dull moments here.

See our sample itinerary describing how you would experience this lodge during a 5-day stay.

Things to Do

The following experiences are included in the cost of your stay.


A number of trails on the island present varying levels of difficulty, ranging from mountain climbing to an easy walk to Little Island, on the southern end of Lord Howe Island, to spot woodhens and Providence petrels. While a few hikes must be guided and incur an additional cost, many can be self-directed.


Exploring by bike is an ideal way to see the island—just get around. The lodge has a fleet of mountain bikes available for guests to use.


Take to the calm waters of the lagoon in one of the lodge’s kayaks, taking in extraordinary island views from a new perspective.

Swimming, Beachcombing, and Snorkeling

The island is edged with a number of unspoiled beaches and bays that beckon travelers to stroll and swim, and snorkelers will find teeming marine life in the lagoon, the coral reef, and even just off Neds Beach. Swimming conditions are best from September to May.


Due to its isolation, Lord Howe Island boasts some of the rarest bird species on the planet. Birders can follow walking trails to the east coast of the island to observe seabirds such as terns, boobies, noddies, and shearwaters. Or set out to find emerald ground doves, red-tailed tropicbirds, and endemic Lord Howe Island woodhens and Providence petrels.

Fish feeding

It’s a Lord Howe Island tradition to feed the fish at Neds Beach. Voted Australia’s cleanest beach in 2005, Neds attracts mullet, wrasse, garfish, silver drummers, spangled emperors and enormous kingfish, most of which will slip and splash around your legs for a few exhilarating moments as you feed them by hand in the shallows.

Optional Activities and Experiences

The following experiences are offered at an additional cost.


Islanders know how to enjoy themselves, and you too can embrace the relaxed Lord Howe way of life with a barbecue at Neds Beach or Cobby’s Corner. North Bay is another of the island’s magical barbecue spots.


The breaks are impressive and the crowds are thin on Blinky Beach. Grab a board and head to this east-facing beach to surf or bodyboard.

Ball's Pyramid

Take a cruise to Ball's Pyramid to examine up close this 1,844-foot basalt sea stack and its astonishing bird and marine life.

Malabar Hill Hike

Follow the spine of the island’s mountain ridge during a three-hour hike with a naturalist guide, passing through kentia palm groves and burrows where shearwaters breed. Climb Malabar Hill, where one of the world’s largest colonies of red-tailed tropicbirds shelter in the steep cliffs that drop to the sea. From September to May, you might catch their fascinating aerial courtship display. (Hike may also be undertaken self guided.)

Goat House

Challenge yourself on a guided climb to the ancient Goat House Cave on Mount Lidgbird, stopping for a picnic along the way, and as your reward witness spectacular views over the island. Take in magnificent views from the heights, then descend into the rain forest on the way down. (Hike may also be undertaken self guided.)

Mount Gower Hike

Set out on a day-long guided climb to the top of Mount Gower, which levels off at 2,871 feet (875 meters). The nearly nine-mile walk—cited by some as one of the best hikes in the world—takes about eight hours and includes a rope-assisted section and narrow ridge trails with sheer drops. Examine the island’s unusual flora, keeping an eye out for the endemic Lord Howe Island woodhen along the way.

Boating and diving

The waters surrounding the island have been protected since 1999 and harbor hundreds of species of fish and some 90 species of coral. Discover the world’s southernmost coral reef on a glass-bottom boat cruise; paddle a glass-bottom kayak; or head out for a dive with a local operator. Or join a fisherman for a deep-sea fishing excursion.

Other Activities

Golf, bowling, and tennis are available to lodge guests, and visits to a palm nursery or the island's museum can also be arranged.

Food and Drink

Locavores will find a home at Capella Lodge, where the salads feature foraged herbs and flowers, the fish is line-caught, and pasta and ice cream are handmade in the lodge kitchen. The restaurant at Capella is by all accounts the best on the island, serving delectable three-course meals designed to showcase local ingredients and Pacific cuisine—and so beautifully prepared that you might find yourself photographing every dish. Breakfasts can be as long and leisurely or as short as you like—the buffet features fresh seasonal fruit, yogurt, muesli, pastries, and more, and an à la carte menu offers a range of hot dishes made to order. While lunch is not included in your room price, the restaurant offers light fare such as sandwiches and soups, and guests can arrange for a picnic or a barbecue elsewhere on the island. Dietary restrictions can be accommodated with advance notice.

The lodge's gourmet experience extends beyond meals: guests are welcomed to the island with a toast and homemade treats, and drinks and hors d’oeuvres are served at sunset every evening. The lodge's evening open bar features island-inspired cocktails and some of Australia’s finest wines. And accompanying every moment of this memorable culinary experience is a backdrop of gorgeous South Pacific scenery.

The Capella Spa

The Capella Spa is an intimate space with an impressive list of services, including a range of facials, massages, body wraps, and more. The treatments incorporate natural products derived from the earth and sea and tap into ancient Aboriginal therapies.

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